I’ve been trying to find a wee slice of time all day to sit and jot down a few thoughts. Like most days lately, the constant interruptions became the day itself. I’m a big Henri Nouwen fan, and one of my favourite Nouwen “themes” is his premise that instead of complaining about how interruptions are nuisances that keep us from living our lives, we can embrace the interruptions as gifts and opportunities…in other words, interruptions aren’t keeping us from our lives, interruptions ARE our lives. I try to live like that. I might start the day out with a plan, complete with a list of things to do…but more often I end up having a much better day because the interruptions have taken me to better places and richer encounters than I might otherwise have experienced (though we’ll never really know, will we, since I never got to experience the original plan).
I like the mystery of possibility…I like believing that the people we encounter within those “interruptions” are quite possibly the whole reason we wake up in the morning.
Today, we ended up in one of those huge box stores. We don’t normally shop on Sundays, but had a house guest who can only shop at this particular store while visiting us because we’re members and she’s not. So we went. It was very crowded and difficult to get around and I wasn’t all that thrilled to be there. But we bumped into one of our favourite employees and I had the opportunity to chat with him for a few moments. And I told him that he had been coming to my mind all week, and I didn’t know why, so had been carrying him in my daily prayer for several days. His eyes started to water up as he told me that he was going through a very difficult time lately and that it meant so much to him to know that God cared enough about him and his ordeal to plant in my heart the desire to pray for this man. I could tell that it touched him deeply.
About 30 minutes later, he found me in another part of the store and asked me to follow him. He led me to his brother, also an employee there, and introduced me as the woman that God had asked to pray for him. His brother clearly had trouble holding back the tears as he told me that I could not know how much it meant to him.
I left feeling so grateful to God for having planted in my heart the need to pray for this man, grateful to experience yet again the tender compassion of a God who wanted to let two sad men know they were not alone, and grateful to have encountered these two men today and to see how comforted and encouraged they were by the simple act of someone praying for them.
It was clear that this “interruption” was no accident. And definitely a better day because of it.
“You don’t think your way into a new kind of living.
― Henri J.M. Nouwen